Thursday, June 26, 2008

Prominent Polish politician sentenced for forging signatures

A court in Pila, west-central Poland, has sentenced Renata Beger, formerly of the populist Self-defense party, to five years probation and fined her 30,000 zlotys for election fraud.

The court adjudicated that Beger forged signatures on a list of alleged Self-defense supporters in the parliamentary elections of 2001.

Beger's trial had to be repeated after the Circuit Court in Poznan quashed the sentence passed in 2006 the court in Pila on procedural grounds.

Renata Beger is a prominent figure in Polish politics. She was a member of the Sejm, Poland's lower parliamentary chamber, from 2001 to 2007. Beger gained immense popularity after being delegated by her party to a special parliamentary committee investigating one of the biggest corruption scandals in Polish history, the so-called Rywingate. After she was accused of counterfeiting signatures, she was expelled from the committee.

Beger is not only known for political activity but also for her controversial personality. In an interview for one of the Polish tabloids she extensively described her and her husband's love life and concluded in saying that she likes sex "just like horses like oats". Her uncouth behaviour made her the object of ridicule for many stand-up comedians and singers.

She is also one of the very few members of parliament who had only primary education completed upon election. Her secondary-school leaving exam, which she took in 2004, was widely commented on throughout the country. However, Beger is probably best known for referring to the previous Secretary General of the UN as Anan Kofan.